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Preliminary Hearing Begins in Slaying of Mother and Daughter

January 9, 1991 GMT

COALVILLE, Utah (AP) _ A man testified Tuesday he played dead after he was shot in the face and doused with gasoline by two men who later were charged with killing his wife and mother-in-law at a remote cabin.

Rolf Tiede, 51, of Humble, Texas, said he lay numb and bleeding on the floor of the garage of the Oakley cabin while the two men fled with his two daughters on snowmobiles. He said when he got up, the cabin was ablaze.

Tiede identified his attackers as Von Lester Taylor and Edward Stephen Deli. Third Circuit Judge Edward Watson ordered them to stand trial after Tuesday’s preliminary court hearing.

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The two have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder in the Dec. 22 shooting deaths of Beth Harmon Tidwell Potts, 76, and her daughter, Kaye Tidwell Tiede, 49. The family had planned to spend Christmas at the cabin.

The men had been reported missing from a halfway house where they had been paroled, Taylor for aggravated burglary and Deli for aggravated arson.

Taylor, 25, and Deli, 21, also are charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, arson and other felonies in the shooting of 51- year-old Rolf Tiede and the kidnapping of his daughters Linae, 20, and her 16-year-old sister, Tricia.

Linae Tiede testified earlier in the day that she saw Taylor shoot her mother and grandmother.

Rolf Tiede testified he arrived at the cabin that afternoon to find Taylor holding his daughter around the neck. He said Taylor and Deli ordered him to strip and give them his money.

″Then Taylor told Deli to ’go ahead and shoot him now,‴ Tiede said. When the first man hesitated, Tiede said Taylor tried to shoot, but his handgun misfired. The second time he pulled the trigger, Tiede said, it went off.

″It hit me on the face and knocked me down,″ he said. ″I laid there and tried not to move.″

He said he remained conscious and smelled gasoline being poured over his legs, back and head.

Then he said he was shot again, this time in the back of the head, but didn’t know who fired the gun.

He said the men, with Linae and Tricia in tow, then drove off on snowmobiles.

″I played dead and waited for the sound of the snowmobiles to die away,″ he said.

He got up to find the cabin was on fire. When he tried to extinguish the blaze, his own gas-soaked jumpsuit burst into flames. He shed the garment then mounted another snowmobile, driving 2 1/2 miles in subfreezing temperatures before finding his brother-in-law, who had a mobile telephone.

Tiede said he did not know his wife and handicapped mother-in-law were dead in another room of the house. He was hospitalized for two days with his injuries, and attended the funeral for the women a week after the killings.

Linae Tiede testified earlier in the day that she had entered the cabin first, followed by her mother and grandmother. She said she saw Taylor pull out a gun and shoot her mother and grandmother. The men then bound her with tape.

″I begged him to let me use the phone. I said I needed to call the hospital and get some help, but they acted like it was no big deal,″ she said. When fleeing the cabin, the men grabbed Tricia and Linae Tiede and traveled about two miles on snowmobiles before forcing the women into their father’s car, authorities said in court papers. Summit County sheriff’s deputies arrested them after a high-speed chase.

Sheriff’s officials believe the men had been burglarizing homes in the Beaver Springs subdivision about 45 miles east of Salt Lake City and 15 miles south of Coalville.